Large companies like General Electric and American Express
have earned acclaim for their content-marketing hubs, but the
internet chewed up and spit out the last site that a company in the
mobile space sponsored. That was Verizon's SugarString, meant to
rival tech publications like Wired and The Verge. Shortly after its
debut last October, SugarString gained notoriety when the editor
(erroneously, Verizon said) told aspiring writers that coverage of
net neutrality and espionage were barred. Facing intense backlash
and ridicule, Verizon
shuttered the site two months later.
Instead of competing with other tech publications, however,
Nokia is enlisting Wired's help.
"The goal is to be provocative, have a debate and a large
conversation," said Kim Kelleher, Wired's publisher. "This isn't
something you hear from most companies."
Wired's Brand Lab, a new in-house shop that works with
advertisers on story-telling and events, will produce short- and
long-form articles for MakeTechHuman, which is part of the
magazine's website. Notable writers and experts are also expected
to contribute. Nokia marks Brand Lab's kick-off program. A series
of question and answer columns are slated appear in the print pages
of Wired in its May, June and August issues.
Whether Nokia embraces thorny topics or instead sticks to easier
subjects (like gadgets) remains to be seen. Topics for the site are
"crowdsourced," meaning Wired will ask readers and industry
luminaries to recommend the subject matter. On Tuesday, for
instance, the campaign rolls out with an Ask Me Anything -- known
as an AMA -- on Reddit with Tim Berners-Lee, a founder of the World
Wide Web. In the AMA, Mr. Berners-Lee is expected to indicate:
"I'm part of a campaign enabled by WIRED and Nokia discussing
all of these topics that I hope you will join me in here:
And next week, Wired and Nokia are hosting an invite-only dinner
with the tech community at the TED conference in Vancouver.
Original content will begin appearing on MakeTechHuman shortly
after the dinner. The articles will carry the label "sponsor
content," according to a Wired spokesman. Currently, the site is
populated with articles from Wired's editorial staff. These
articles will be replaced with content from Wired's Brand Lab.
A live event is scheduled for the fall to discuss certain issues
the program tackled. The final piece of the campaign is a
documentary about what "people are worried about, what the experts
say, and the innovative tactics being used to address these
concerns," according to the two companies.
"The last phase of it is to solve those problems," said Maya
Draisin, associate publisher-marketing at Wired.